Tag Archives: polls

Poll: Most Tennesseans support gas tax increase

A new Vanderbilt University survey shows a majority of Tennesseans are open to a state gas-tax increase for transportation needs to a point, reports Andy Sher.

It comes as Republican Gov. Bill Haslam seeks to make a case that Tennessee’s road program…needs more money to keep up the pace. ..A number of his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly (are) balking.

…A majority of the 1,013 registered voters surveyed voiced a willingness to pay an additional 2 to 8 cents per gallon at the pump. The state gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1988, is now 21.4 cents per gallon.

Two out of every three poll respondents — 66 percent — said they are willing to pay an extra 2 cents per gallon at the pump. Thirty-three percent were opposed. A majority — 54 percent — still said they were willing to pay an additional eight cents per gallon while 45 percent said they weren’t.

But the majority evaporates like so much spilled fuel on a 15-cent hike. Only 46 percent said they could back that while 53 percent were against it.

Josh Clinton, a Vanderbilt political science professor and co-director of the poll, said… The survey underscores that “when you ask if they support an increase in sales tax on gasoline and don’t specify an amount, people are going to assume the increase will be high and they respond negatively…”But if you give them a tangible amount, you could get quite a bit of support for an increase.”

…Haslam said the poll results didn’t surprise him.

“I think people out there get it and get the need,” Haslam said. “And I think if you tie that to specific projects, you’d even see more positive reaction.”

The governor added, “Part of our mission right now is to complete the road plan that everyone can agree on, then hopefully, that will be encouragement to our legislators that this is something that people really do want to see happen.”

A number of Haslam’s fellow Republicans in the Legislature, including House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Tracy, have balked at doing anything in 2016.

Asked whether an 8-cent increase would help, Haslam replied, “Oh yeah. Again, we need to decide what we’re going to do, but sure, 8 cents would make a difference.”

TN Poll: Trump 29, Carson 25, Cruz 14, Rubio 12

Richard Locker has transcribed the Vanderbilt poll results for the two presidential primaries:

If Tennessee’s presidential primary elections were held today, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton would win their respective party primaries, according to the newest Vanderbilt University poll released Friday.

Among Tennessee Republican voters, the billionaire New York businessman would win a 29 percent plurality, followed by neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson at 25 percent, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 14 percent, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 12 percent, former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 6 percent and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 2 percent, the poll indicates.

…The Vanderbilt poll found Trump’s highest support among people who identify themselves as tea party Republicans: 33 percent of those voters favor Trump, while 21 percent said they would vote for Carson, 18 percent for Cruz, 12 percent for Rubio and 5 percent for Bush. Among non-tea party Republicans, 28 percent favored Carson, 27 percent Trump, 13 percent Rubio, 10 percent Cruz and 7 percent Bush.

Among Tennessee Democratic voters, 48 percent said they would vote for Clinton…28 percent said they favor U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, 10 percent said they don’t know yet, 3 percent favored former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, 4 percent said none of the candidates or that they wouldn’t vote, and the remainder named someone else.

The poll questioned 1,013 registered voters Nov. 11-23 and overall has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent. The poll included 495 registered voters who identified themselves as Republicans — that portion of the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percent — and 346 who identified themselves as Democrats — and that portion has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.7 percent.

New Vandy poll: More Tennesseans fret about immigration, most open to gas tax hike

Excerpts from the news release on Vanderbilt University’s new poll of Tennesseans, released Friday:

Results from the latest Vanderbilt Poll-Tennessee show the number of voters who consider immigration a top priority nearly doubled since May – from 7 percent to 13 percent. For registered voters in the state, immigration remains the fourth highest priority, behind the economy (31 percent), education (24 percent) and health care (17 percent). But that was not the case for Tea Party members; it was the second most important issue for them (26 percent) with the economy first (30 percent). Tea Party members exhibited other differences. When asked if they felt angry at the government, 39 percent of Tea Party members said “Yes,” compared to 26 percent of Republicans. Overall, 23 percent of Tennesseans were angry. These data are in response to a new poll question about voters’ feelings toward the political system.

The Vanderbilt Poll-Tennessee went into the field Nov. 11, just two days before the Paris attacks, and ended Nov. 23. Pollsters questioned 1,013 registered voters. The survey has a percentage of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

Religious Freedom

A large majority of Tennesseans (75 percent) believe Muslims who want to practice their religion peacefully should have the right to do so. “Tennesseans, like all Americans, strongly support religious freedom. Not even the Paris attacks changed this commitment,” Geer said.

At the same time, a sizeable majority also believe government workers should be required to enforce a law, even if it conflicts with religious or personal points of view, reflecting what the researchers call “the pragmatic side of Tennesseans.”

“We are a nation of laws,” Geer said. “Some politicians can applaud people like (Kentucky Court Clerk) Kim Davis, but citizens of this state want laws enforced.”

Presidential favorites

Asked to select their favorite Democratic candidate for president, poll respondents put Hillary Clinton ahead with 48 percent of the vote, trailed by Bernie Sanders at 28 percent. On the Republican side, Donald Trump led Ben Carson by 4 percentage points, (29 to 25 percent). Jeb Bush trailed Ted Cruz (14 percent) and Marco Rubio (12 percent) with 6 percent.

But the presidential nomination process on the Republican side remains quite fluid, according to the researchers.

Gas taxes

Voters were open to raising taxes on gasoline to fund road and bridge maintenance. A substantial majority of 66 percent said they would be willing to pay a 2-cent increase in gas tax, with only 33 percent unwilling. Even a 15-cent tax garnered 46 percent approval. The researchers suggested that this increase might be thought of as the “the gas tax threshold.”

“When you ask if they support an increase in sales tax on gasoline and don’t specify an amount, people are going to assume the increase will be high and they respond negatively,” said Josh Clinton, Abby and Jon Winkelried Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll-Tennessee. “But if you give them a tangible amount, you could get quite a bit of support for an increase. We thought voters might respond negatively either way, so we were surprised by the results, which indicate policymakers could get quite a bit of support for even a 10-cent increase in the gas tax.”

Same sex marriage

Support for same-sex marriage has increased among Tennesseans over the last year from 23 percent to 32 percent.

Gun control

A majority of Tennessee voters said gun control laws should remain the same, while 40 percent wished it would become harder in the state to buy a gun. Just 5 percent wanted it to be easier to purchase a gun.

Right to Die

Tennesseans are open to the entreaties of right-to-die activists, with 59 percent agreeing that doctors should be allowed to help patients painlessly end their life if they have a disease that cannot be cured and are living in pain. Thirty-five percent are opposed to it.

Note: The full release is HERE.

Poll finds Haslam with 64 percent approval rating

Gov. Bill Haslam’s job approval rating stands at 64 percent among Tennessee voters, above average for governors nationwide, according to a months-long survey by Morning Consult. Just 24 percent gave him a negative rating.

The online political research group does polling on multiple issues nationwide. It asked about a governor’s popularity in surveys from May into November and reported results when all states had a statistically appropriate sample – 1,442 in the case of Tennessee, said to provide a 2.6 percent margin of error.

Excerpt from the overview story:

A comprehensive survey of more than 75,000 voters in all 50 states, conducted over several months by Morning Consult, shows 34 of the nation’s governors have approval ratings of 50 percent or higher, and 16 governors have approval ratings over 60 percent. Governors in only ten states have higher disapproval ratings than approval ratings, the survey found.

Leading the pack is Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who won election in 2014. Nearly three quarters, 74 percent, of Massachusetts voters say they approve of the job Baker is doing, while just 14 percent say they disapprove.

About two-thirds of voters in four other states approve of the job their Republican governors are doing. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) all have approval ratings north of 66 percent.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) have the highest approval ratings of any Democratic governor; 62 percent of voters in both states say they approve of the job their governor is doing.

On the other end of the spectrum, just 26 percent of Kansas voters say they approve of Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) job performance. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) and Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) — all of whom have faced months, or years, of negative headlines at home — have approval ratings under 40 percent.

…While only a small percentage of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, the average governor’s approval rating is a healthy 54 percent. An average of 34 percent disapproved.

Running for president appears to be a good path to a lousy approval rating in one’s home state, the surveys show. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – both of whom have an approval rating of just 40 percent — join Jindal near the bottom of the rankings (Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who sports a 59 percent approval rating, is the lone exception).

MTSU Poll, Part 3: Tennesseans back gun rights — with background checks

News release from Middle Tennessee State University
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Although strongly protective of gun rights in general, most Tennessee voters favor requiring background checks for gun sales among private individuals and at gun shows and support laws to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns, according to the latest MTSU Poll.

Two other measures – banning assault-style weapons and setting up a federal database to track all gun sales – draw considerably less support, especially among gun rights supporters.

“Tennesseans generally favor preserving access to guns, and pretty passionately so,” said Ken Blake, director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “But there appears to be some common ground between gun rights supporters and gun control supporters when it comes to regulating private and gun show sales and sales to the mentally ill.”

The poll randomly surveyed 603 registered voters statewide by telephone Oct. 25-27 and has an error margin of 4 percentage points.
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MTSU Poll, Part 2: Most Tennesseans oppose gay marriage

News release from Middle Tennessee State University:
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Most Tennessee voters remain opposed to letting gay couples marry legally, according to the first MTSU Poll taken since this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

Meanwhile, about half of Tennessee voters think abortion should be against the law in most or all cases, and attitudes on both issues break sharply along religious and political party lines.

“Reflecting patterns in previous MTSU Polls, opposition to the legality of both same-sex marriage and abortion runs highest among Tennessee’s evangelical Christian and Republican voters,” said Ken Blake, director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “In both groups, sizable majorities think it should be unlawful for same-sex couples to marry and think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.”

The poll randomly surveyed 603 registered voters statewide by telephone Oct. 25-27 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
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MTSU Poll: Ben Carson leads in TN presidential preference

News release from Middle Tennessee State University:
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Republican candidate Ben Carson has the current presidential field’s best numbers among Tennessee voters, although the biggest slice of the state’s electorate remains undecided, the latest statewide MTSU Poll shows.

The poll began by asking, “Of all the candidates currently running for president, can you please name the one person you would most like to win the election?” The question offered no specific candidate names. The poll’s sample of registered voters responded:

— Carson (R): 19 percent
— Hillary Clinton (D): 16 percent
— Donald Trump (R): 14 percent
— Bernie Sanders (D): 5 percent

The field’s remaining candidates posted in the lower single digits.
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Poll finds dead heat in Nashville mayor’s race

A poll commissioned by The Tennessean finds a statistical dead heat between Megan Barry and David Fox in the Nashville mayoral runoff election.

A survey taken this week by Public Policy Polling found Barry the choice of 46 percent of likely Nashville voters if the race were held today, compared with 45 percent who said they would vote for Fox. Ten percent of respondents said they are still undecided. (Note: Results may not total 100% due to rounding.)

The poll, a phone survey of 858 likely Metro voters taken on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, marks the first traditional third-party poll released at any point during Nashville’s yearlong mayoral race. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

“It’s obviously close and it’s partisan,” said Jim Williams, polling analyst for Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling, a firm that tends to work for Democratic clients nationally. “It’s going to come down to turnout and whose supporters are going to turn out in a stronger way.”

The runoff election is Sept. 10. Early voting began Aug. 21 and concludes Saturday.

…Barry, popular among liberals and progressives, has support of 74 percent of voters who identified as Democrats, the poll found, while Fox has the backing of 15 percent of Democrats. Fox, who has campaigned hard on fiscal conservatism, holds a strong edge among Republican voters, with 88 percent saying they support Fox compared with just 9 percent for Barry.

In the poll, Fox makes up the difference in Democratic-leaning Davidson County with much stronger support among independents. The poll found that 56 percent of independents said they would vote for Fox if the election were held today, while 32 percent said they would vote for Barry.

Two Nashville mayor candidates produce polls showing themselves as frontrunners

An internal poll touted by Bill Freeman’s campaign and a separate survey from Howard Gentry’s camp show themselves leading Nashville’s multi-candidate race for mayor and opponents trailing in a similar order, according to The Tennessean.

A poll commissioned by Freeman’s campaign of likely Nashville voters May 7-12 found that Freeman is the top choice of 20 percent of likely voters, up from 11 percent on April 1. The same poll found Gentry’s support has dipped from 27 percent to 16 percent over that time and Megan Barry has climbed from 13 percent to 16 percent.

…But a separate internal poll from Gentry’s campaign conducted May 7-11 has Gentry in the lead, with 21 percent of likely voters saying he’s their top choice. It found Freeman second with 19 percent followed by Barry at 10 percent.

…Freeman’s poll, a survey of 600 likely voters, was conducted by Washington D.C.-based Democratic pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Gentry’s poll came from The Mellman Group, also a national Democratic pollster. It was based on responses from 500 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent. Percentages are rounded.

Metro’s general election is Aug. 6. Early voting begins July 17. A run-off in September between the top two finishers is expected.

Columnist: Vandy poll shows legislators out of touch with typical Tennessee voter

Excerpt from Commercial Appeal columnist Otis Sanford’s latest:

Just as I suspected, Tennesseans are not nearly as dogmatic, self-centered, hypocritical and closed-minded as most of the people we send to the state legislature.

For example, ordinary Tennesseans understand the value of deliberative compromise. Our lawmakers respond to a request for compromise with, “What part of hell no don’t you understand, the hell or the no?”

Ordinary Tennesseans, for the most part, have compassion for the underprivileged members of our society. Our lawmakers seem to treat those folks as freeloading pariahs.

And ordinary Tennesseans believe local governments should control the parks and playgrounds located within their borders. Our lawmakers check first with their out-of-state contributors, then pass laws stripping control from local leaders.

I say all that based on the findings from the most recent Vanderbilt University poll… a whopping 78 percent of Tennesseans surveyed said they still want lawmakers to debate (the issue (Insure Tennessee) and hold an up-or-down vote… 64 percent of the respondents said they support (Insure Tennessee).

…John Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, was almost at a loss in trying to reconcile the poll results with the legislature’s recalcitrance. “There is a major disconnect between the thinking of Tennesseans and the action of our state legislature,” Geer told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

And how.

Remember what I wrote a few weeks ago about a parallel universe inhabited by Tennessee’s right-wing politicians? The Vanderbilt Poll confirms it.

Note: The column comes after a CA editorial criticizing Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey for suggesting the Vanderbilt Poll belongs in the trash can.